From the Mayor by G.T. BYNUM
Mayor of Tulsa
Shortly after I took office, the Mayor’s Office led a joint retreat with the City Council to brainstorm our goals and form a strategic plan for our city. This retreat serves as the catalyst toward framing our strategic-planning process and moving ahead as a unified city government.
By working together, we will pursue initiatives that will not only benefit our city but will position us as a national leader. At the retreat, we began the process of establishing our collectively agreed upon goals. As a next step, City employee teams are working to identify strategies by which we will pursue these goals and measurements by which citizens can track our progress. I will have more to say about this in a future column.
One important point of consensus to arise from the retreat was the recognition that we as elected officials don’t do any of the work that Tulsans rely on day to day. We don’t arrest criminals or fix potholes or put out house fires. And, in any enterprise, be it a business or a nonprofit, what kinds of employees do the best work for customers? Employees who feel valued, who feel a stake in the direction of the organization, who feel part of one team – or employees who feel like an afterthought, whose work is not rewarded and who feel pitted against one another? It doesn’t take a graduate degree in organizational psychology to know the answer to that question.
We believe employees who feel valued do better work for our customers (the citizens of Tulsa). So, discussion at the retreat extended to City of Tulsa employee benefits and pay, and then to employee satisfaction. A survey conducted by the City Auditor last year found that nearly two-thirds of City employees reported low morale among their coworkers. As a City government, we must do better – much better.
All of our elected officials share a commitment to employee empowerment, fair pay, quality health insurance, and a reliable retirement system. With a flat budget, these are not simple goals to address, but I am encouraged by our unity of commitment to build a better workplace for our employees so that they may, in turn, better serve our fellow Tulsans.
We have a lot of work ahead of us. It is exciting to be working, together, to build a better city.